Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government
Building icon
The .gov means it's official
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.
Lock icon
This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely.
Archived News Article: Information may be out of date
June 24, 2020

How can Disaster Unemployment Assistance help you?

How can Disaster Unemployment Assistance help you?
How can Disaster Unemployment Assistance help you?

With Hurricane season fast approaching, it is important to know what resources are available if a disaster were to strike. If major damage is sustained in a state, the President may declare it a major disaster zone, which allows states to access special funding from the federal government. If a major disaster is declared in your state, you may find yourself eligible for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, working alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to provide the necessary funds to the state unemployment insurance agencies. The program provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.

To check and see if a disaster has been declared in your area, use FEMA’s disaster declaration tool.

Who is eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

In order to qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, your employment or self-employment must have been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States. You must have been determined not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits (under any state or federal law).

Payment will be made to an unemployed worker, who as a direct result of a presidentially declared major disaster:

  • No longer has a job.
  • Is unable to reach their place of work.
  • Cannot work due to damage to the place of work.
  • Becomes the head of the household and is seeking work because the former head of the household died as a result of the disaster.
  • Cannot work because of a disaster-incurred injury.

Check-in with your state’s official unemployment website for the most up-to-date information on the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance in your area. Individuals who have moved or have been evacuated to another state should contact the affected state for claim filing instructions. To check your eligibility for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, use the questionnaire at the bottom of the program page.

How do I apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

To apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, you must apply through your state’s unemployment agency. Applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance must be filed by an individual within 30 days of the announcement of the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance in the state. Individuals must follow the instructions in the announcement and file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance based on the filing methods used by the state (i.e., in-person, mail, telephone, or internet).

Find assistance in your state by visiting the Employment and Career Development category and filter by the state you live in.

How can I find other assistance programs?

If you have recently experienced a major disaster – is here to help. Compare your eligibility for over 1,000 government benefits using the Benefit Finder, an online questionnaire, to discover assistance programs you and your family may be eligible for and learn how to apply.  Browse the Disaster Relief category to find more resources such as loans, counseling services, and more.

What other benefits can help me and my family?

If you’re looking for pandemic resources, DUA may not be the right assistance program for you. However, there are other resources available to citizens in need. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act temporarily enhances and expands unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through several key programs, including:

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

To stay informed on the federal response to the pandemic, visit and the Centers for Disease Control webpage.

Compass logo

Compass Newsletter

Stay connected for important news and updates on federal benefits you may be eligible to receive.